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Five Asian Countries Start Using ICT for Community Empowerment

01-04-2004 (Bangkok)
The use of ICT in non formal education programmes to foster participation of disadvantaged people in literacy, basic education and continuing education activities is at the centre of projects in Indonesia, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Uzbekistan that UNESCO's Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL) has launched with funds from Japan.
The UNESCO Office in Bangkok, where the project is located, now reports on first results of the project..

In Lao PDR, the project is focusing on improving village incomes amongst rural youth in Namon Nuea and Chahom villages in Vientiane province. Under the project, the Non Formal Education (NFE) Department is strengthening community learning centres (CLCs) to serve as resource centres where ICT equipment is used to disseminate news and information in various areas, including life skills and income generation. Project staff provide training in CLC planning and management and in the skills needed to use ICT for maintaining a community database, community accounting and the marketing of community products, among other activities. In addition, project participants are renovating the existing meeting hall of the District Education Bureau in Vang Vieng district to serve as the district cultural and information resource centre. This centre will preserve the culture of the district and provide information to tourists, especially in regard to the sale of local products.

In Sri Lanka, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is establishing multi-purpose community telecentres for community development in Rathnapura, Gampaha and Kuliyaputiya districts. These community telecentres will serve Sarvodaya’s village banks as well as six CLCs operated under the NFE Unit of the Ministry of Education. Project activities include the development of community databases and the dissemination of appropriate information to villagers and entrepreneurs through Sarvodaya’s Mobile Multimedia Unit. Also in operation are an entrepreneurial skills development programme, the provision of revolving funds for villages to start self-employment activities, and computer training for village bank staff, village volunteers and CLC officials.

In Thailand, under the Northern Regional NFE Centre, the project is developing inter-village connectivity and empowering the members of rural communities, particularly youth, who want to use ICT as a tool for community development (especially in the areas of family accounting, community savings and community store accounting). The sites are Ban Samkha, Ban Tung, Ban Gom and Ban Don Fai in Mae Ta district, Lampang province. In particular, the project tries to extend the learning experiences in Ban Samkha to the other three connected villages by means of ICT laboratories in those villages. Project staff also organize and coordinate the sharing of learning among all residents of the targeted villages.

In Uzbekistan, the project aims at facilitating the application of ICT for community empowerment in Samarkand, Andijon and Bukhara. Under the project, the National Commission of Uzbekistan for UNESCO is helping to develop community databases and documentation for community planning and management. Other activities include establishing an ICT network among CLCs in the target areas and providing training to all personnel and community people at the project sites. An important component of the project is the development of ICT materials for community empowerment, poverty alleviation and improving the quality of life.

In Indonesia, the Directorate General of NFE and Youth is planning to introduce an ICT-based learning model to CLCs in Central Java and South Kalimantan. The planned activities include community data collection using the PRA approach through CLCs and a programme using the Internet to enable greater access to data and improved information flows between local communities and the Government. There will be learning programmes relying on Internet and cable TV access for improving learning activities, as well as providing more prompt and effective consultation and problem solving via ICT on the part of supervisors.
Related themes/countries

      · Indonesia: News Archive 2004
      · Uzbekistan: News Archive
      · Sri Lanka: News Archive 2004
      · Thailand: News Archive 2004
      · Lao People's Democratic Republic: News Archive
      · ICT in Education: News Archives 2004
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